Gaming set for fast growth in new play areas

Updated: 2012-02-20 10:57

By Gao Yuan (China Daily)

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Browser and mobile sectors will be behind accelerated development

BEIJING - China's online gaming industry may embrace another phase of fast development as browser game and mobile game sectors flourish and overseas markets generate more income, officials and industry researchers say.

Gaming set for fast growth in new play areas

The nation's leading online game developers and operators, including Shanda Games, The9 Ltd and Giant Interactive Group Inc, have announced overseas development strategies.[Photo/China Daily]

"The development of the nation's online gaming industry accelerated in 2011 driven by the arrival of the browser game and mobile game sectors," said Sun Shoushan, deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication. Revenues gained by the online gaming market totaled 42.85 billion yuan ($6.8 billion) last year, up by 32.4 percent year-on-year, according to the administration's statistics.

The total revenue of China's online gaming market is expected to hit 55.7 billion yuan in 2012, boosted by broadband Internet development and a favorable economic outlook among the nation's second- and third-tier cities, said a report released by research company Analysys International.

The research firm also estimated that the Chinese online gaming industry is likely to keep expanding at a rate of between 20 and 25 percent in the following three years, which means it is likely to reach 82.6 billion yuan by 2014.

Revenues of the nation's online PC game market exceeded 10 billion yuan for the first time during the fourth quarter of last year, up by 8.3 percent quarter-on-quarter, Analysys International said. The top three online game distributors - Tencent Holdings Ltd, Inc and Shanda Games Ltd - cornered more than 65 percent of the market.

The size of the industry will be bigger if game developing and engineer training sectors are taken into account. The entire industry was estimated to have received more than 115.8 billion yuan in revenues last year, business website reported, citing the Ministry of Culture.

As of 2011, the entire gaming industry has about 33,590 enterprises, including more than 320 Web game developers and at least 250 mobile game developers, the report added.

Revenues for China's mobile gaming industry have surged to 1.7 billion yuan, up by 86.8 percent year-on-year, according to Sun of the General Administration of Press and Publication.

Despite the fact that the country's mobile game sector only made up about 8.9 percent of the industry's total revenue in 2011, Sun Mengzi, an analyst from Analysys International, predicted the mobile gaming revenue is expected to increase 10 billion yuan by 2014, which will drive up the market share to more than 17 percent.

However, analysts are worried that the large number of homogeneous games may hinder the industry. "Players will become more hesitant about downloading paid-for games when large numbers of poor quality games exist in the market," Sun said. "It will take another two to three years for mobile game distributors to integrate," she added.

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